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Local Group Reaches Youth with Prayer and Basketball - KOAM TV 7

Local Group Reaches Youth with Prayer and Basketball

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JOPLIN, MISSOURI -

A local group is reaching out to youth by combining prayer.. and basketball. 

Basketball isn't quite Rayiah Bryant's favorite sport.. but she's been playing here as part of Unity in the Community since it started three years ago.

Rayiah Bryant, Joplin Resident:"I love it. I was kind of a quite child in high school, but coming here, everybody feels like family."

The community led group meets at Cunningham Park in Joplin every evening during the summer.
It's based on a simple idea.. to give youth a safe place to come together... And it all started with basketball.

David Durall, Unity in the Community Founder:"The first summer, my son and i were up here playing basketball, and there was just several fights going on and, and I said, what is going on. So we're up here to keep all that away, and to provide that safe place."

Durall says the group may have started with basketball.. but that it has grown to become so much more.

Durall:"It shows our youth that we truly do care. I can show them where, hey, God says you are loved. God says he will never leave you nor forsake you. Our youth in the nation as a whole are hurting, and if we can bring light to a dark place, then that's what we're here for."

Being that light for the youth in the community is something Bryant hopes will have a lasting effect.. especially on those who may think about taking their own life.. and those who have. 

Bryant:"Some people don't necessarily take it seriously. David has made a candlelight ceremony here for them and their family, just to acknowledge the fact that this is happening. It's a growing issue, and we should really care about our youth and listen."

That's why she hopes the group will stick around.. and unite the community.. for years to come.

The group hopes to start playing volleyball at the park next week to attract people who may not be fans of basketball.

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